Monday, August 20, 2007

From Juli Stewart

Dear Family,
I am sorry to hear of your loss. Early in our family's homeschooling years, I met Carolyn. She was the president of our local support group. She was so sweet in spirit. I enjoyed her warmth and hospitality at her home for meetings. I also met Joffre when he worked at Faith Pres. I helped Miss Amy in the church library and Joffre was very gracious in lending assistance many times to us. May the Lord comfort you all. What a beautiful way to bring stories of Carolyn together. ~Juli

Monday, August 6, 2007

From the Clarkes

Dearest Family,

Your sorrow is our sorrow, your hurt is our hurt, your peace is our peace.

May God grant you all peace in knowing Carolyn is frolicking in the heavenly meadows and smiling down upon you with her love. Although she has left her earthly being, her soul and spirit shall remain in your hearts forever and always.

Please let us know if we can do anything at any time.

Our love always,

Pam and Dick Clarke

Cody Clarke

Anje and Ryan Postma

From Mardy Freeman

My daughter, Kate, called me yesterday while I was in North Carolina to let me know you had let her know about your mom’s passing. I was so sad to hear. What a delightful and genuinely caring person your beautiful mom was to so many of us. What a treat is was to get together with her in your beautiful historic house in the middle of downtown Gainesville. It was Carolyn who introduced us ladies to the Melting Pot, where she walked us for chocolate fondue one night. What fun she was to be with; what an encouragement to those around her. I will always love her, and look forward to seeing her again in Heaven. Thank you for this chance to tell you how much she was loved.

Mardy Freeman

From Claudio Cunha

The first time I met Carolyn was in Brazil, about twenty years ago, in the late 80's, some time before they left to their long journey to Edmonton, Canada. At that time I had the pleasure to work with Joffre, at IPT, a research institute, in Sao Paulo. Joffre also was my MSc thesis supervisor and my scientific mentor. I learnt to admire him and his lovely family, the three kids, Joffre, Jonathan, and Jennifer, and how their mother was as inspiration and light for them. Many years later, in 2003, destiny took me to Gainesville, FL, for a sabbatical at the UF. I had the chance to be close to Carolyn and Joffre. I was living alone, could not bring my family with me, and Joffre and Carolyn’s home was a kind of second home away from home. Spending Thanksgiving with them in 2003 was an unforgettable experience, and I felt all the warmth, all the love that surrounded the entire family. More than that, I really felt as if I was really part of the family, and very fortunate to be with all of you. Those times in Gainesville, the times with Joffre and Carolyn, the day I arrived from Brazil and we had lunch together, the so many times we had the chance to talk and laugh, sometimes in so-long forgotten Portuguese, are certainly among the best times of my entire life.

May Carolyn be in peace. She shall be remembered as a lovely and very special woman, a mother and spouse who dedicated her life to her family, who raised their children with all her love, giving the best of herself. And she must be very proud of it. May the whole Swait family find the light and the strength to cope with this tragic loss, to accept and understand the wishes of God, and to continue to live your lives, being sure that she is with the Lord, and looking for all of you, and smiling, very proud of you, just waiting the time for you to get reunited again.

Claudio B. Cunha

Monday, July 30, 2007

Eulogy to a Wife

This eulogy to Carolyn was written and delivered by her husband Joffre at her funeral service on Saturday, July 28, at Covenant Community Church in Taylors, SC.

Eulogy To A Wife

A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. (Prov 31:10)

Family, friends, brethren … As we gather to honor Carolyn, my beloved wife, it is fitting to do so by worshipping together the Lord who called her out of darkness some 28 years ago. Having had the great honor of being her husband for 32 years, with the advent of her death I have taken upon myself the task of examining her life and attempting to define the major themes that characterized it.
I thought upon these things deeply during the final days of her life, in an attempt not only to internalize events but also to contextualize them in the sequence of Carolyn’s life. I experimented with different ways of describing this dignified, graceful woman that I had been bonded to by God. In turn I discarded as inadequate several perspectives that emphasized single aspects of her Christian walk:
· Would it be sufficient to typify her life as that of a woman with a deep and abiding faith in Jesus Christ as her Redeemer?
· Should I portray her as the dutiful, loving wife, mother, daughter, or sister in Christ?
· Was she simply the woman whose greatest pleasure was to read and study the Bible, whose voracious mind led to an ever present stack of theological and religious works yet to be read in her personal library?
These are indeed true aspects of Carolyn, but some nights before her demise I finally realized that a broader perspective had to be taken to encompass and describe her life. So, I must appeal to the framework of 1 Co 13:13 to tell you about her: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

How then, faith?
Let me tell you about the quiet hours of the long night in which I revealed to Carolyn that she was terminally ill with lung and colon cancers. After giving her the bare facts of her condition, I suggested we pray together, thinking to comfort her as she lay curled up in a fetal position upon the hospital bed, her breathing labored and already faint. I closed my eyes, and took a moment to collect my thoughts to begin my prayer. But in the interim, Carolyn began to softly pray in her weakened, now raspy, voice: “Oh Lord, You have been so faithful to me …” And for the next 10 minutes she reviewed before God and me His everlasting love for her through the major events in her life: birth, childhood, marriage, salvation, automobile accidents survived, divers prayers made (some answered, others not), home destroyed by fire, husband redeemed, children born or adopted and raised in a Christian home, wives and husbands sought for our children, even trips to distant countries that she had so greatly enjoyed. She prayed for the future of her children and her children’s children, thanking the Lord that she had been blessed with them. She prayed for my future without her.
Some time into this prayer I opened my eyes to regard my wife with something akin to awe as I listened to this psalm of praise to God. I knew I was witnessing the expression of a faith so deep that I was hearing Christ-in-Carolyn praising the Father through the Holy Spirit. And I further realized that her faith had been a strong staff upon which both I and her children had long relied.
This was her faith.

How then, hope?
Her faith in Jesus Christ as her personal King and Savior was not without effect. It was the foundation upon which was built one of the most noticeable characteristics of Carolyn, her strong sense of hope.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Rm 15:13)
Carolyn overflowed with hope, permitting her to encourage both herself and others unceasingly. But this hope was by no means some optimistically Pollyannish view of life. Rather, her hope was built upon the promises of Scripture, and her concrete experiences with Him.
Carolyn grew up near the sea, in Lima, Peru, and loved hearing the sound of the surf and smelling the sea. So it is not surprising that her analogy for facing the hardships of life was based on this love. The difficulties of life were waves under which she would dive through, surfacing after they had passed. She rested in the assurance that her Lord would see her through the wave.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Rm 8:28)
This was her hope.

How then, love?
This is where I run the risk of speaking overlong. There is so much to say about Carolyn’s love for God, His Word, her family, the church, for people in general. I will limit myself, therefore, to Carolyn’s gift for hospitality. She loved having people at her table: not just a few people, but the more the merrier. A fabulous, intuitive cook, she loved good food, but she loved more having people around to enjoy it.
You came, you ate, you laughed, you talked about a myriad of subjects, you helped to clean up, but you didn’t cook! No, the kitchen belonged to Carolyn and to her alone. To her daughter and daughter-in-law’s frustration, there were few recipes, no dish was ever prepared quite the same way for long. And it was all delicious … Menus were planned so that cooking was done as much as possible prior to guest arrival, because Carolyn’s objective was not simply to feed people, but rather to engage with them. Once guests arrived, she was out of the kitchen and in the dining room if at all possible.
Being at Carolyn’s table was fun: joking flourished, good food was savored, serious discussions on history, linguistics, culture, theology, everything it seemed, were had. To Carolyn, this loving environment had its own inherent reward: human companionship and warmth.
This was her love.

We will sorely miss Carolyn, but we rejoice that her eternal hopes are now fulfilled.
“Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.’
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.”
(Prov 31:28-30)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

From Donnie Marsh

I met Carolyn almost 7 years ago in Gainesville shortly after I had become friends with her daughter Jennifer. I was absolutely crazy about Jen (my apologies and congratulations to Tony) and when I heard that she had a 6'9" big brother, I sought to ingratiate myself with her family before making any kind of move. Ultimately this strategy involved playing months of Scrabble with Joffre at the Christian Study Center and taking a dreadfully boring class on John Calvin with Carolyn so I would get invited to dinner with the family at their house. The Swaits were all very kind to me, Carolyn in particular, as they humored my persistent presence in their home, and even after Jennifer's and my interest in eachother passed, I was a frequent guest for some time.

I have many great memories of sitting around the dining room table after devouring something amazing that Carolyn had made, watching her great family enjoy eachother. I loved sitting at the bar in the kitchen talking to Carolyn while I watched her cook. She was very smart, patient, and understanding; she reminded me of the Sister Wisdom that the book of Proverbs talks about, and whenever I read that verse I always imagine her as that character. I also appreciated that she did not consider herself above my sense of humor. One time, after teaching some of us to say the Apostle's Creed in Portugese, she then taught me how to say, "You are very beautiful. Please bear my children." I look forward to the banqueting feast in heaven when I will again look down the table at her, but the wait is going to be hard.

Donnie Marsh

From Gordon Tapper

When she worked at ASE teaching English to UF's international graduate students Carolyn always seemed on the verge of smiling. Always. I mean always. When she smiled, usually accompanied by a totally disarming laugh, you just knew that you were in the presence of a fundamentally happy and very cool person. When I realized who her kids were, and then met her husband, I knew that this was the coolest family I had ever met. Carolyn brought all of that to her teaching and work at UF. Her students loved her. I know this because it is my job to read all of the end-of-semester teaching evaluations. Her students loved her -- a lot. While she was finishing up her MA in Linguistics Carolyn, somehow, took the time to expand the curriculum of every course that she taught. She always kept the big picture in mind. Often she would come to my office and say "how 'bout if we do it this way" or "Is it ok if I change this?" Her suggestions for improvement were always enlightened and I was always smart enough to accept her suggestions. As cool as New Mexico no doubt is, I am still sorry that Carolyn left Gainesville. As a teacher and colleague Carolyn is irreplaceable. As a beacon of laughter and joy she is a gift from god. When I think about who I want to be like when I grow up I think about Carolyn. She is an inspiration for the way we all ought to try to live our lives -- a beautiful, smiling, laughing, remarkable inspiration.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Carolyn Swait died this morning around 6am at the age of 53 years old. She was the wife of Joffre, mother of Joffre, Jonathan, and Jennifer and grandmother of Renata, Joffre, George, and Alex. May she rest in peace.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

From Patti Moon Tapper

I remember the first time I met you, Carolyn. You were applying to teach at the ELI. I distinctly remember asking you how to pronounce your name because in Linguistics we have a Caroline (note the difference in spelling). You told me that your name is pronounced with a short i sound unlike Caroline, which is a long i or /ay/. I have shared that story many times and even in recent days, so isn’t it ironic that my husband shares a story about you spelling “Caroline” throughout! Please forgive him!

I have so many fond memories of you. I also have fond feelings for you. Though we have only crossed paths for many brief moments, every encounter I have had with you has been nothing but pleasant and peaceful. You exude peace and calm.

One of the encounters I remember of you is you telling me about surviving the massive brush fires in Oregon; I think in the early 90s. You told me you had lost everything in that fire. But, for you it didn’t mean anything (except for the loss of some special photos of your family). You really, truly didn’t seem to have suffered any trauma or have any regret having survived that. Thinking on that now, I guess you were just grateful to have survived that.

Another fond memory I have is when we had a conversation talking about Gordon and my plans to marry. Of course, our plans included not to having a wedding. I think that was about the time that Jennifer was going to marry and you joked with me that you wish she’d elope. Jennifer, if you are reading this, please understand, it’s not because she didn’t want to have a wedding! No way! She wouldn’t miss that for the world. She just knew how practical it was to elope (especially at our age)! I felt reassured that a mom would tell me that.

I remember when Gordon and I were learning how to rollerblade, and you sharing Jonathon’s expertise in rollerblading, and how we should join the class. You really are a proud mom.

I know how much you have shared with Gordon, bringing Joffre’s artwork to his office, to help beautify the sanitarium of Yon Hall.

Carolyn, I really hope that I can someday be as poised as you are.

In closing, I want to share a song with you that I’ve been listening to all of today. It’s not the same without the music, so if you have a chance to download it, the artist singing it is a duo called Hapa. The song is called Lei Pikake. The “lei pikake” is a lei used for courting, for marriage ceremonies and for honoring women in general.

I honor you.

Here are the lyrics in Hawaiian and, after, in English.

Lei Pikake

Barry Flanagan & Kiope Raymond


Mâpu `ia ke `ala o ka pîkake

I ka o aheahe a ka makani

Aloha a`e au i ka pua `ume mau

`Ako au i kêia pua aloha

I poina `ole `la ai a he launa `ole

Aloha a`e au i ka pua `ume mau

`Ohu`ohu ho`i pili i ka pu`uwai

He lei ho`olei a`e pûlama

Aloha a`e au i ka pua `ume mau

Puana `ia mai ko`u mana`o

He lei pîkake ku`u aloha

Aloha a`e au i ka pua `ume mau

The fragrance of the pîkake is wafted

By a gentle blowing of the wind

I love the flower that constantly attracts

I pluck this flower of my attraction

It will never be forgotten, second to none

I love the flower that constantly attracts

Elegant and close to my heart

A lei to wear and cherish

I love the flower that constantly attracts

An echo of my thoughts

A pîkake lei is my love

I love the flower that constantly attracts

Before I close, please let me share a linguistic tidbit for you. As you can see in the Hawaiian version, the word “aloha” is repeated often in the song. The word “aloha” has many meanings in Hawaiian. I’m sure that you know the most common meaning, “hello” and “goodbye,” but let me tell you more. In Hawaiian, words have spiritual or divine power. Aloha is one of the most sacred and powerful. “Aloha” is an invocation and an acknowledgement that god is everywhere. The morpheme structure is “alo”= presence, front, face + “ha”=breath. “The presence of divine breath.”

Other English translations are love, affection, compassion, mercy, sympathy, pity, kindness, sentiment, grace, charity; greeting, salutation, regards; beloved, loving, kind, compassionate, charitable, lovable; to love, be fond of; to show kindness, mercy, pity, charity, affection; to venerate; to remember with affection; to greet, to hail.

Aloha, Carolyn. I really remember you with affection.

Miss Sargasso Sea and Raindrops Falling on My Head :)

Hi Carol and Family and Friends;

This story goes back to when we were teenagers in Lima.

One fine day we were all looning around, generally gassing about things and someone (more than likely one of the girls) came up with a "if you could be anywhere in the World right now, where would it be ?" question.

(Editor's Note - you can see why I said it was probably a girl who asked the question, as it's usually girls who come up with these sort of questions, like "what's your favourite colour ?" or "what's your favourite ice cream ?" etc, I'm sure they do it just to pester us poor Men... heheh !!!)

You Carol, gave us one of your sweet smiles and let loose with:

" I'd like to swim around in the Sargasso Sea..."

Erm... yes.... well... You completely dumbfounded us all....

After a few seconds of blank expressions, open mouths and maybe the odd person looking at the ceiling with brain cogs whirring beneath a frown of concentration, someone piped up:

"The WHAT sea ?"

It then clicked inside you that no one else had heard of the Sargasso Sea, and quite cheerfully and matter-of-factly you explained:

"It's a sea out in the Atlantic. There's no wind and its full of seaweed "

The outcome of this apparently insignificant event, is that since then, whenever I hear the Sargasso Sea being mentioned, I think of the 15 year old Carol, in her greyish bikini, diving off the back of a yacht, swimming over to a colchoneta (inflatable lilo), climbing up on it and then paddling around on top of this seaweed filled green sea...

I think this is one example of what Richard (Diffenderfer/Bernstein) was saying about part of our brains adopting the thoughts and feelings of other people. I tend to think that happens, but it doesn't happen with everyone you meet, it tends to happen with people who you like.
It certainly happened to me way back then. Carol, you may not have competed to become Miss Ancon, or Miss Peru or Miss Florida, but you (quite unintentionally) did become Miss Sargasso Sea to me, and likewise the Sargasso Sea has become your swimming pool (in my mind).

Whilst I'm at it.... ( "oh no !" I hear you all groan... heheh !!!)

(No mystery this time. This one is just straight memory, as opposed to brains adopting thoughts and patterns of a person you like )

I also remember another occasion from around that time:

Patty, Carol and me went to see Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid at the Cine Colina in Miraflores (Lima).

The odd thing about this was that around that time we always went to the cinema in a large group, but for some reason this time it was only us three... tow roses (Patty and Carol) escoted by (or should that be escorting ? heheh !) a thorn (me)

Why am I telling this ?

'Cos every time I hear the song "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head" I think of Patty and Carol.

Strange how we are linked by totally unexpected things sometimes.

God bless you all.



Monday, July 23, 2007

From Eileen Scipione

Skip and I are in Prague for four weeks, thus we are unable to be at your mother's side at this most difficult time. I even tried to get Delta airlines to allow me to come home right now but they won't allow an affordable ticket change unless the sick person is a family member. They don't understand that Carolyn and I are sisters in Christ. (Next time I'll buy ticket insurance.)
I'm writing this using the past tense, even though Carolyn is still with us in this world. And I know that Joffre, her devoted husband, is or was, holding out hope and prayer for a last minute miracle. And up to now I have joined him in that prayer. But I just got word that the time is very close, according to her doctors. I so wanted to say goodbye in person. But the Spirit of Christ is with her.
What I want to say to everyone who knows and loves her is how much Carolyn did for me when she asked to meet for prayer for our struggling sons and daughters. It was her idea and God blessed it mightily in my life! She and Londa Jones and I met each Saturday morning at 7 a.m. for many months. By His mercy we spent much more time in prayer than in talking. Carolyn drove down to my house in Greer all way from Trion. She must have gotten up at the crack of dawn.
The Lord blessed with intense and personal prayer times. Her heart for Christ and His Word was primary. She prayed that He would mean to her children what He meant to her. It was crucial that each one would be close to Jesus.
These prayer times set the tone for the next couple of days. Carolyn said that they made a difference for the whole week for her. Being forced to concentrate and focus in prayer to our Savior is a huge blessing to women our age who have trouble keeping our minds on a single task.
In addition to the prayer times, I will always remember Carolyn for her insights in the reading group at my house twice a month. It was on a book called Overcoming Fear Worry and Anxiety. Carolyn was quick to share what the Lord was doing in her own vulnerable areas in order to encourage the younger women in the group. She was all about the honor and reputation of Christ as opposed to her own honor and reputation.
I will miss her intensely. But our reunion before the throne will be wonderful and sweet.
Hearts courageous,
Eileen Scipione

From Pam and Dick

Footprints in the Sand

by Mary Stevenson

One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was
walking along the beach with the Lord. Across the
sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene, he
noticed two sets of footprints in the sand: one
belonging to him, and the other to the Lord. When
the last scene of his life flashed before him, he
looked back at the footprints in the sand. He
noticed that many times along the path of his life
there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed
that it happened at the very lowest and saddest
times in his life. This really bothered him and he
questioned the Lord about it. "Lord, You said that
once I decided to follow you, You'd walk with me all
the way. But I have noticed that during the most
troublesome times in my life, there is only one set
of footprints. I don't understand why when I needed
you most you would leave me." The Lord replied,
"My precious child, I love you and I would
never leave you. During your times of trial and
suffering, when you see only one set of footprints,

it was then that I Carried You."

My cousin Carolyn and I are close to the same age. We have lived in separate parts of the world most of our lives, so we haven’t kept in touch except for what has been relayed via our parents, other members of the family, or an occassional visit by Carolyn to the PNW. It’s sad to know that.

We can choose our friends, but we can’t choose our relatives….. I’m so happy God chose Carolyn and her family to be a part of my family. Godspeed Carolyn, Godspeed.

Love to you all, Pam and Dick

From Jeanie Mann-Hoehn

I knew Carolyn as both a neighbor and as a colleague when we were both teaching at the ELI. What an easy person to be around—always considerate, helpful, and kind. I am reminded of this every time I drink hot tea from my favorite travel thermos.

We had sold our house a few weeks earlier and were a few days away from a 12-hour drive to get to our new home in Athens, GA. One afternoon, Carolyn stopped by and gave us a most thoughtful and appropriate going away gift— that travel thermos I have grown so attached to. It was most appreciated on that long drive and ever since, it has reminded me of the very caring, genuine person that she is. We crossed paths rather briefly, but Carolyn definitely made an impression on me. I’m sure I am far from being alone in that.

From Karen Owens

So if you live in Gainesville, and if you have an interest in linguistics or culture or languages, chances are that you will have come across the English Language Institute at the University of Florida.
Should come as no surprise, then, that the ELI would have seen a Swait or two.
Indeed, Carolyn and her son, Joffre, had their respective chapters working at the ELI.
And the truth is that, during these past couple of weeks, we all have been thinking about Carolyn.
(Thinking about Joffre, too.)

We aren't reminiscing as much as we are reflecting.
And praying.

Carolyn's cultural and academic background made her a true kindred in our small ELI family.

So this morning, Barbara Earp shared with me this quote.
She was moved by its poetry and profundity:

Imperishable is the Lord of Love.
As from a blazing fire thousands of sparks Leap forth,
so millions of beings arise From the Lord of Love and return to him.

--Mundaka Upanishad

All our thoughts and prayers are with you, Carolyn.

Dhammapada 16

Patti Moon comforted me a great deal by sending this to me when my husband died:

A man long absent
comes home safe from afar.
His kin, his friends, his companions,
delight in his return.

In just the same way,
when you've done good
& gone from this world
to the world beyond,
Your good deeds receive you--
as kin, someone dear
come home.

One of Carolyn's Favorite Verses

One of Carolyn's favorite Bible verses is Psalm 16:6. Here is the previous verse and vs.6:

The Lord is my chosen portion
and my cup;
you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in
pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful

What a glorious woman she is. When I first met her I though her constant hopefulness and cheer a bit of a weakness. I am ashamed and embarassed to admit that.God has since greatly convicted me, a terrible pessimist, that it is actually her greatest strength. Her hope was rightly confined by the truth of God and she expected blessings from God, her Father. God knows how to give good gifts to his children and loves when they know and expect that from Him. Carolyn knew and received great gifts from him and continued to thank Him for that even yesterday as she lays close to death.

Meeting Carolyn

I so remember one of the first times I chatted with Carolyn, during a break while we were both training to be SPEAK readers. I knew nothing about her other than that she was a fellow linguistics student.
She was telling Gordon something about her son at age 12. I mosied myself into the conversation, nodding affably as she talked about something funny Joffre did as a pre-adolescent. I had no idea she was referring to the past. Later on, when she mentioned her daughter-in-law, I idiotically asked her, "what? your son is married at 12???" What a laugh I got from the two of them.
From then on, especially here at the E.L.I., whenever we bumped into each other, she always gave me the sweetest smile. It was always a pleasure to see her, and I really regret I didn't get the chance to know her a lot better.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Personal Beatitudes

Blessed are we who have known and loved Carolyn;
Blessed are all who have sat at her table to partake of a Swait family meal;
Blessed are we who have learned so much from Carolyn’s intellectual curiosity and rigor;
Blessed are we who have been witness to her capacity to laugh and be pleased;
Blessed are we to know someone so accepting of our eccentricities;
Blessed am I to have a sister in whose company I am compelled to be my best self;
Blessed am I who to be a part of this vigil; to be a part of her family; to have shared moments of her life and to be invited into her circle;
Blessed are we for whom she has been best friend, sister, mother, wife; and for her faith, from which all her strength and love has emanated.

From Ginger Clark

Carolyn, you and your family are in our thoughts and prayers. I want to thank you for your friendship. Thank you for your smile and happy, encouraging ways. I'm thankful for our sisterhood in the Lord and that we'll have that through eternity. I'm grateful for the good times we've had in Bible studies, prayer groups, meals out and in your home. May the Lord hold you and your family close to him now and always. Love, Ginger.

The Perfect Mother

Where do I start when describe my mother. I have so many memories I don't know where to start! We had the best lunches with the whole family in Gainesville on Sundays where people at church would beg to be invited to come to lunch to taste her food. Our trip to Spain with the whole family where we all got to tease Joffre the whole time speaking fake spanish:) For example "look El dogo"lol Even mom!! One thing that I always wanted was a marrige like my mother and father have. They really love and know each took years:)lol but that is is what made it fun for her. She loves him more that anything and he loves her. When I was little when people found out i was adopted they would tease me and make fun of me for some reason. The memory with my mother that meant the most to me was when I was being teased and my mother heard it. She pulled me aside told me my siblings were a blessing and a gift from God. She got to go and pick me out special and I was a special gift to the family. It takes a special woman to be able to reach so many people and to be able affect so many lives in the way she has. She is and example in the way I should live my life, follow the Lord and thirst for the truth in his word. I am her son and I am biased but I have to say I have the Perfect Mother!

from Richard Diff.

On the Portland city bus, posted along with the ads and public service announcements, there are also little posters they call “Poetry in Motion.” Today, on the way downtown to visit the Chinese Gardens with my folks, and thinking of Carolyn, I read one by W. S. Merwin:

“Your presence enters me like thread through the eye of a needle.
Everything I do is stitched with your color.”

That seemed to connect directly to something I'd just read in the newspaper an hour or so earlier. A quote by a writer named Hofstadter I think. About a revelation he'd had while looking into the eyes of a photograph of his wife. He realized that in the many years of intimate communication with her, her mind had, in fact, entered and become part of his mind. That the complex collection of synapses, impulses and structures of his mind had been altered forever, and had taken on and incorporated so many of the structures and connections of her mind too. That her mind had, in fact, now become a permanent part of his own. And that this process would continue, and has always continued, from her mind to his mind and beyond, from person to person, from generation to generation, and that in fact we all, in fact, live within this one large interconnected mind...

And that seemed to connect perfectly and directly to the things that have been running through my mind during these last few days amid the onrush of terrible news about Carolyn...

The phrase keeps repeating: "It’s the thought that counts.” Something people say at a birthday or Christmas when you open a present that doesn't quite fit, or is something you already have, something that's not quite right...

Maybe it's something that's really great but just doesn't last long enough...

It's the thought that counts. It makes me think of how no conversation wth Carolyn, no matter how short or how routine, is ever anything less than rich and varied and full of meaning and wit and love... Carolyn can be more thoughtful in five minutes I think than other people can be in a year! What a privilege it is to know her and to share her wonderful mind and heart!

I love to imagine now how the experience of hearing and sharing with her, her thoughts and observations, her unique loves and insights, will now reside in my own thoughts and emotions forever...and how they will now be shared and transmitted beyond me as well...

And how her thoughts must have become such a part of her husband and her children and will continue to move on to their children and their children, and all their countless friends and children and colleagues...

What a wonderful thought! And how sweet to savor it now as I sit quietly, a visitor in the Chinese Gardens, soaking in all the complex textures and fragrances around me. The myriad plants and stones and water...the beautiful and intricate and alien architecture....all the shades of green and brown and gray...the light, light rain tickling my skin and making tiny little rings on the surface of the pond, appearing and disappearing almost instantly...

Friday, July 20, 2007

Before I met you, Carolyn...

Before I met you, Carolyn, I met your son.
And because good ol' Joffre the Younger is an unforgettable character both inside and out, I could not help but to think of you immediately.
I mean, can you blame me?
You come upon Joffre and think, almost as a knee-jerk reaction: whoa... I wonder about his mom.
And I had never even met you.

Under these circumstances, you can wonder about all sorts of silliness, right?
Were you a giant?
Were you a no-nonsense intellectual with a peculiar sense of humor?
Were you a steadfast Christian, not only in your heart but in your mind as well?
A theologian would be Joffre's choice term, I guess.
Were you a theologian?

One day, as Joffre and I were talking about everything from the cabbages to the kings, I asked about you.
He was nonchalant.
You're only the mom.
Nice, healthy, typical reaction from a 19-year-old boy.

I smiled at the purity, simplicity, and power of his reaction.
Of course, at that moment I could not know that even though Joffre didn't say much about you, his manner in his response revealed all those qualities, which later I would come to know in you first-hand: a pure, simple, and powerful energy yours, Carolyn Swait.

At every moment of your life.

From Alexandra Perdue

It may be a little hard for some of Carol's friends (the ones she
made later in life) to understand, but for those of us that were born
in Peru, we had no cousins, Aunts, Uncles, Grandmothers near by. Our
friends became sometimes closer than family. (We get to choose friends)
Plus, there wasn't a large group of Americans and Brits our age, so we
formed friendships that have lasted our entire lives. (Even a marriage
came out of it!)

It's hard to put into words the regard, fondness, affection and love
we have for each other. It goes beyond friendship. You know what I
mean, Patty, Mimi, Solange, Colin, John, Bertie, Francis, Johnny.

When we got together in February, it was so good to see you. You were
braver than I. I didn't make the climb. Me and my blood pressure would
greet you the next day. It wasn't long enough. You were packed and
gone too soon. A flight to catch.

Un abrazo fuerte amiga, xxxalex

Alexandra (Green) Perdue

Bright Angel Trail to Carol's Family from Alma

As everyone can observe from these pictures after a long hike up from the depths of the Grand Canyon, Carol stood with her companions: her sister Patty, and her friend Susie, under a signpost that said Bright Angel Trail. As I looked at these photographs yesterday, it hit me! This is exactly what Carol exemplifies, a Bright Angel, someone moved by an uncompromising faith and with incredible courage to beat the odds. She took the challenge to hike down, and up the Grand Canyon, and showed she has an unbending will to accomplish her goals.

I hadn't seen Carol in years, and when I saw her again in February '07, she sported her signature smile. She always smiled, and her positive attitude infected us all during our week in Arizona.

What else can I say. I hope Carol is an inspiration to us all, and we learn from her example: despite adversity, follow your dreams.

Get Well Quick !

Hi Carol;
Jowar yuca ?
I'm very sorry to hear about you having to go back into hospital again. Let's hope they pull their fingers out and give you the best of what they are capable of.
Meanwhile you'll be in my thoughts and prayers and in the thoughts and prayers of the rest of the gang (and from what I've seen, your school friends too)
Patty mentioned that she wasn't sure about your access to the internet, so just to be belt and braces, I've also posted you a card, via snail mail, so hopefully that should get to you in the next few days.
If you do get chance to come on the Internet, and you're sitting there drumming your fingers and wondering what to do, drop me a line. I'd love to correspond with you about what you've been up to these last few years and your recent escapade down (and then back up) the Grand Canyon !!! :) You all have my admiration about that, I don't think I could've done it (I need to shed a few, or more like a lot, of kilos before I could do something like that)
Anyway Carol, hope you are feeling better when you receive this
Lots of Love
[ ][ ][ ] <-- abrazos
your pal

From Marion Clark

When I think of Carolyn I think of someone with a sharp theological mind. I remember one Bible study I was leading. I asked a question, expecting someone to give a partial answer that I could then expand upon. Carolyn answered the question with such thoroughness, I could think of nothing to add. I, tongue-in-cheek, admonished her for saying everything I had thought to say. But this is typical of her – insightful and articulate with the added bonus of maturity. That is another trait. She knows how to speak, how to act, how to treat others. She is a model for anyone on how to life the mature Christian life.

From Aunt Bonnie


I laughed (and cried) when reading all the notes to you. i am so happy your friends had a part in your life.

Jennifer's story of the "famous family motto" reminds me of the time your mother was in Eugene. She, Patti (9 years old?) and you (7 years old?) came to see me.

After a couple of hours visiting Patti and you were getting very restless, began to fidgit and wanted to go. Your mother looked at both of you and said "you were raised a lady so act like a lady".

No one was more surprised than I, for dad (grandpa Hartford) always told us that as we grew up and we HATED IT!

I said to your mother, at the time, we hated it. She smiled and said "I know, but it works".

Thanks Carolyn in starting your family motto. Dad's words never leave my thoughts and now as Jennifer says your words are continuing.

Thanks for coming to Portland the summer of 2006. Marcia and I will remember our time with you as a treasure.
Love you,
Aunt Bonnie

From Mariana

I remember we were like in 1st grade, and we had a very old teacher, señorita Panchita, who had taught my grandmother and my mother and was now our teacher. This is a very old lady I'm writing about as you can figure out. Every morning we had to greet her properly before she started calling us by our names, so we would start reading ..... she used to call me my mother's maiden's name, and she would never call your mom by her name Carolyn Bernstein, no way, too much for her, every day for a whole year she said ..... Carolina Berastein ... which must be the spanish version of her real name, I remember we used to laugh so hard, as your mom would shily correct her every day, mi nombre es Carolyn Bernstein no Carolina Berastein - my name is Carolyn Bernstein, not Carolina Berastein - anyways its good we only had this old and nice teacher for one year .....

All our prayers are with your mom and her family right now, Mariana

From Patty Chag

My name is Patty (Sologuren maiden name) Chag. I now live in New hampshire. I've lived here for 14 years and prior to that I lived in New Jersey for 12 years. I was born in Peru and lived there for 20 years. I went to San Silvestre with your mom. Actually I was such an outstanding student that I had to do 2nd and 3rd grades twice!!! So in my highschool years I was with your mom, and also my youngest sister Sonia. No one knew that I really wanted to be with those kids. We were the best of the best!!!!!I have the most wonderful memories of your mom. I loved talking to her because she had a way to calm my hipperness with her beautiful smile. I never saw her sad or upset, she always had a smile on her face. I know many times I made her laugh, but it was because I was a wild child!!!!! and did things that shocked her, such as, sliding down the stair on the arm rail!!!! just very mischevious things. I will never forget your mom. Thou she is departing thi s world I know she will always be with all of us. I want you to know that I have you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

May God Bless you all and give you the strength you will need from now on.
Patty Chag

A Dear Lady

From the day we met Carolyn, we knew we'd like her. She is pleasant, fun-loving, and has a great sense of humor. She truly enjoys being with people and showing them hospitality. What fabulous cooking! Carolyn is the type of person you would really want your unsaved relatives to meet because she is outgoing, welcoming, and joyful. Most importantly, her sincere love for the Lord is evident. We are truly blessed to know her.

With love in Christ Jesus,
Kevin and Marianne Olivier

Thursday, July 19, 2007

From Christie Palmer

She was always kind to me, and all were welcome in her kitchen and at her
table. It felt good to walk through those doors. You were always greeted
with one of the warmest smiles I have ever seen. I tasted lentils for the
first time at her table (a big deal for a girl raised on southern cooking),
and salad at the end of a meal (not the beginning?).
The things that I admire most about her are intangible though.
The fun of playing musical bedrooms.
The gentle yet firm way she demanded respect from her children, and they
gave it.
The teasing of two people completely devoted to one another for life.
The warmth and hospitality of her home.
The encouragement of strengths, the careful discipline of weaknesses and the
godly discipleship of her family.
I should hope to be a mother like her, a woman completely devoted to her
husband and her children, loving and enjoying them all to pieces.
"Her children rise up and bless her; Her husband also, and he praises
What a fitting tribute for a lovely lady.

Christie (Parsons) Palmer

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

From Roxana

Verdaderamente que noticias tan tristes, caramba con la vida que nunca deja de dar sus buenos golpes. Definitivamente Carol se vera rodeada de oraciones San Silvestrinas, por lo pronto las mias.

From Susie

I am so upset to hear about Carol. Apart from the fact that we did a memorable hike together I regard you and Carol as very special friends. Also I feel so privileged to be a member of the road runner club which is very select. I don't know what else to say except that you are all in my thoughts and prayers .

Love to you Susie.

Carolyn, Susie, and Carolyn's sister Patty climbed down the Grand Canyon together February of this year.

From Patty

Your E-mail made me smile remembering the time Carol rewrote her name.
She was the only one of us in the family who did not have a middle name so she solved the problem by splitting her name in half and insisting we call her Carol. As you can tell we still do. Except for my Mom who always calls her Carolina.

From Fabiola Pancorvo de Juggins

My name is Fabiola and I was a very close friend of Carolyn's during our school years at San Silvestre School in Lima, Peru. Your mom invited me many times to her house on Avenida Javier Prado and we used to play with her dolls. I clearly remember she used to wait upstairs, by the window, to see me arrive at your grandparent's house in my father's car. She used to rush downstairs to greet me and help me physically because I am a polio victim with a sequel that stops me from running or walking fast. But your mom was always there ready to help me. We were very close during our school years. You cannot imagine or even think of the fond memories I have of Carolyn. I still keep some photographs and after visiting your blog I was surprised to see that your mom has not changed much. She still has her sweet look and lovely smile. I am very very sad to hear about her illness. Can you please put this e-mail with the prayer in your blog?

Dear Lord Jesus Christ, I am sorry for the things that I have done wrong in my life. Please forgive me. I now turn from everything which I know is wrong. Thank You that You died on the cross for me so that I can be forgiven and set free. Thank You that You offer me forgiveness and the gift of Your Spirit. I now receive that gift. Please come into my life by Your Holy Spirit to be with me forever. Please bless my dear friend Carolyn Bernstein and her beloved family. Thank You, Lord Jesus, Amen.
Thank you Joffre.
Yours sincerely,
Fabiola Pancorvo de Juggins
Sao Paulo, Brazil

From Joan Prange

An unexpected present
Carolyn and I didn't travel in the same circles, nor share many memorable experiences. But I learned from watching her. I had been a research scientist for many years prior to starting a business. Observation is part of my nature.
In experiencing Carolyn, I learned that family comes first; husband is primary, children are beloved but secondary; submission is a loving act of persistent giving; church activities should enhance your daily worship experience, not replace it.
Carolyn was the first person to decline to assist with putting together a church event, with just "no, thank you". No excuses, just that her time would be spent on her family, not another.
Though I didn't view it as such at the time, that "no" was a gift with lasting repercussions.
Carolyn, I am delighted to have experienced you. Thank you for my present.

From Maria Elena

En estos momentos difíciles que tiene que pasar la familia , las
palabras y deseos de aliento y fortaleza que te enviamos van con mucho

Recuerdo a Carolyn muy bien , con su pelo ensortijado y medio
pelirojo , bien alta y fuerte , en las fotos que enviaron del paseo al Gran
Cañon la reconocí enseguida.

Dale un abrazo de mi parte y cuenta con nuestro incondicional apoyo
en todo momento.

Un beso grande,
Maria Elena

From Gillian Griffis

I heard the news about Carol this morning, emails have been going back and
forth between all of us in her class expressing our concern and our prayers
for her.
I have fond memories of Carol Lynn (of course at school it was Carolyn, but
love the story of the name change to have a middle name) there were several
classes when we sat in desks next to each other. I've attached a Class 1
sportsday foto, looking at her there it seems that even in senior school she
looked the same. Always thought she was so sophisticated.

Please let us know how she is doing. If we can write directly to Joffre for
him to print up the emails just let us know his address.

A big hug to Carol

Gillian Griffis

My Dear Friend Carolyn....

I have a dear dear friend named Carolyn. We met at Faith Church many years ago, and she’s had a special place in my heart ever since. It was Carolyn who suggested that the ladies of Faith meet early each Wednesday morning to pray for our families, church, and each other. What a wonderful time of fellowship and prayer that was! As time went by, it dwindled down to just four of us, then three. Our friendship deepened as we shared each others’ burdens, hopes, and dreams. We celebrated many a birthday breakfast together during those years! Carolyn’s departure for Taos left an enormous hole in our lives, but somehow she was always still there with us in our hearts. We missed her sweet passionate prayers…..her quiet wisdom….her lovely example of a true Godly woman. Nancy reminded me recently of one of Carolyn’s favorite Psalms. I pray that verses 5 - 11 of that Psalm 16 bring Carolyn great comfort in this very difficult time of her life. One of my fondest memories of Carolyn was her reading us Psalm 36:8, 9.

8 They feast on the abundance of your house;
you give them drink from your river of delights.
9 For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light.

“Drink from your river of delights”! My dear friend Carolyn ALWAYS encouraged us to drink from His “river of delights”. I pray that even now, at this very moment, she is drinking heavily from that glorious river of delights……. dipping into the fountain of life ….. and rejoicing in His light.

Thank you for blessing my life so greatly, Carolyn!

The Starbucks Advenure!

“Hi! I’m in town visiting Jen”, she says. “Let’s meet at Starbucks!”

“Great!”, I says. “Which one?”

“The one near Talbot’s and the movie theatre”, she says.

“I’ll be there!”, I says. “Can’t wait to see you!”

I go. I wait. No Carolyn and Jennifer. I wait. No one comes. I don’t have her new phone number. What do I do? I wait some more, but I begin to worry that I’ve made a mistake. Naw, not me! She said the Starbucks near Talbot’s. THIS is the Starbucks near Talbot’s. Oh oh! Wait! This is the Starbucks that WAS Talbot’s!! Oh horrors! They’ve been waiting at the Royal Park Starbucks for almost an hour! ……. uhhhhh…..the one near Talbot’s and the movie theatre. Oops!

Yup. Aside from my utter stupidity, that was a great day. We had much to catch up on. (loved ones, friends, and life situations) Haven’t seen Carolyn since then, but I’ll always cherish the memory of that crazy mixed-up day!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

From Anita

What sorrow! Such a wonderful person, sweet, charming,
soft, femenine and determined. Patrick and I are very sorry
to read these sad and very preoccupying news on Carol.

We will pray for her, Joffre, your Mom and you. That God
will be with you in his warm and comforting embrace. Faith
will give her and all of you the strenghth and comfort you
will be needing.

Please keep us informed and if we can be of ANY help, other
than remembering her in our prayers, please let us know.
Give her a big hug when you see her next.

Testing at the Study Center

I was very excited when you showed up at the Study Center to ask if Richard Horner would monitor your exams for RTS. It was enjoyable re-connecting with you and catching up on children and life. Even though Richard actually signed the form I was the one who got the honor of timing your tests. It became somewhat of a joke between you and I that you nearly always showed up without a pen, pencil. or paper! Something we would have barked at our students about if they had come unprepared. I thoroughly enjoyed talking to you during each visit and now I realize, once again, how much we should value each conversation we have with friends.

From Donna Schroeder


I am remembering an early morning prayer group somewhere ( Nancy's house, Christian Study Center?) with Lori, Barbara, Nancy, you and me when you suggested that we pray 'outloud' when praying alone. I have been mindful of that often.

Attending your graduation pary in your home in Gainesville I felt so comfortable. Your home was filled with paintings and other family items. We ate a delicious rice dish and you shared the recipe. We made and served that dish at a wedding shortly after that.

Your meringue chocolate chip cookies we ate at a small group Bible study at Lori's were incredible!
No wheat!

Your Christian Sister,

Donna Schroeder

From Barbara Stakely

Dear Caroline,
I'm so sorry to hear the distressing news of your ill health.
Thank you so much for always being a good prayer warrior at Faith. I know you prayed regularly for the church and the people there for many years. Now we are praying for you and your family at this difficult time and know you will feel the support of many prayers in your behalf.
Barbara Stakely

From Patricia Yengle

You will always be in our hearts and this is how I will remember you (Lima, 1961. I'm the one in the back with a hand on my chin)
Go in peace, dear classmate. Our prayers will be with you now and always.

Patricia Yengle

Carolyn with Alex.

Carolyn with George.

The Homeschooling Years

Well, actually I don't remember much about you, Carolyn, during those years--they were somewhat of a blur and I always seemed to be busy presiding or organizing or sorting out problems among members. What I DO remember is when you stepped in to serve as President of our homeschooling group. Actually I'm not sure you stepped in as were shoved unsuspecting into the position. (Had I just stepped down, or did you serve after Mardy?) My memory of the 'how' is a bit fuzzy, but I do remember you being very gracious, confident, competent, and serving the group well during that year. Thank you again for not stringing up those of us who "elected" you. I think I recall that you were away--maybe on a vacation or a trip somewhere--when we appointed you. With friends like us, who needed enemies. Do you remember those mad dashes to sign up into sub-groups? What a time we had, racing to sign our names and get our children into a group that would have stimulating field trips and fun activities. What an improvement it was when they went to the send-in-a-post card method. Ah, yes, those were the good old days....

From Sonia Sologuren

Many years has passed since we left San Silvestre school, but during all this time I always remember you as a sweet, charming and a very good friend,
May prays are with you, and all my love.

Sonia Sologuren

Carolyn's Hands Part 2

Knitting. Carolyn comes over and sits on the couch and knit, purl, knit, purl over and over. She drinks 2 cups of Constant Comment tea, knits, and talks to me. Another relaxing thing to watch her do. She made 3 sweaters and 2 blankets for my kids. They are so cool. I get a lot of compliments. She taught me to knit too. I made a few scarves.... Um, yeah so she's a lot better than me. I like to tease her because she takes so long to finish a project because she starts a new one before she finishes the last. I think Jen still has a half finished maternity sweater somewhere.

June Pictures

Carolyn holding Alex and Kim holding George.

Joffre and Carolyn with grandkids Joffre and Renata.

Everyone Has a Different Life Experience...

When I was young I would go and run errands with my Mom while my brothers stayed home and did whatever it was they wanted to. If I was lucky, she would be in the mood to have "mother-daughter time" - a fun treat time that my brothers missed out on. We might grab some ice cream or sushi, or go to the movies. When we'd come back, at least one of the boys would complain, only to receive one of Mom's most famous phrases in return: "Everyone has a different life experience."
That became one of the most famous, yet annoying phrases in our house. It's harmless enough in itself, but we always heard it at a time when we weren't quite in the mood. Apparently she coined it after she told a young Joffre that life wasn't fair only to be told in return that "well, it should be." Too true - so, she came up with something we all can agree with (even though we hated to hear it).
Over time, though, we learned to love this saying. It has become something of a family motto. In fact, I think all of her children at one time or other have gleefully passed on this tid-bit of wisdom to others, glad not to be on the receiving end.

Monday, July 16, 2007

From Solange

A short note at this difficult time to say how sad and distressed I was to hear Carolyn's news. I was just in Lima last week and we had a class reunion at Augusta Lores' house where we were remembering all the girls in our class that we hadn't seen in a long time. Leslie brought out her school album and she had pictures of everyone that hadn't graduated with us and Carolyn's picture at about age 10 was there. We talked a little bit about her and how after calling her Carolyn for some time she told us her name was really Carol Lynn. Don't know if it's true but I remembered that detail. Please let her know that my thoughts and prayers are with her and that I know that all the girls in the class are thinking of her also. Lots of love and hugs to you. Wish I could do something to give you strength too.

From Mimi

Words don't come easily at this time but I do want you and the family to know that my love and prayers are with Carol and all of you at this difficult time and may God hear all our petitions for her health and well being. I'm happy to hear that she has kept a positive attitude throughout and that will help her tremendously through whatever treatment they deem will be the best for her. So many memories amiga of time spent with her and the gang and rest assured that we are praying together.

Carolyn's Hands

When I think of Carolyn I think a lot about her hands. I think my daughter has her hands. I spent many a time sitting at the counter in the kitchen watching her chop onions and soak them in water, pick cilantro leaves off the stem, pick through a bunch of lettuce selecting the best leaves for a salad and pinching Penzey's spices into the food. I used to wonder how she could spend so much time preparing food. Then I realized how much she enjoys cooking and I used to be a bit mesmorized watching her work. It is very relaxing.

Then I had the joy of tasting her food: asparagus broiled till just crispy with lemon, apple fritattas, potato salad with carrots and peas, broccoli bacon salad, brined pork tenderloin, chicken marinaded in soy sauce and orange juice, chocolate souffles, tirimisu, flank steak with cilantro/onion sauce, bean salads, rice and beans with onions and bacon fried in manioc flour and butter, ham and chicken pies, cakes made from almonds, crispy cucumber salad marinaded in rice vinegar, strawberries with real whipped cream.....hmmm. She gave food such a good name.

The really great thing is that if you go to the younger Swait's house (us) or the Cordova house you will see many of the same things on our menus. She taught us so much about cooking and food. I'm hoping to write down her recipes for our kids but she taught us too well. We don't know how to measure the ingredients because we learned by "a little of that" and "a pinch of these" and taste.

Carolyn and Renata

"Punny" Jokes

I remember some of the first times I visited the Swait house before I became one. Of course this means I remember sitting around the Swait table. I was, of course, awed by Carolyn's cooking. (I actually want second helpings of the vegetables and no bread is involved in this meal?)

But the thing that sticks out in my mind was a strange tradition in the Swait house. Joffre the Elder was getting ready to serve dessert and said some awful pun or play on words joke ( he calls them jokes) and started laughing hysterically at his own joke. I felt a bit at a loss and turn to my hostess, Carolyn, for direction only to find her giggling along. So I braved it out but it got worse. Joffre kept laughing till he was crying and Carolyn was heartily laughing too. "Oh, Bibs,.... really," she'd say. I waveringly smiled and looked back and forth between the two and had inspiration. I thought, "Ah, these two really like each other." I didn't miss the punchline. The way Swaits laugh at each other you'd think they could be on comedy central but they just really like each other.

As the years have passed I raise an eyebrow and give Joffre the Elder a dirty look when he makes his goofy play on words jokes. Jennifer who raises her eyebrow then sort of spits out a laugh till she is totally giggling says it only fuels him but I disagree. Carolyn is the fuel behind that fire with her giggling. (Incidentally, she even giggles if you say the word "hexagon" to her.Maybe only when Jonathon does.) You must understand she is not a silly woman. She just knows how to enjoy her husband and children.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Blue Calois

'86 was also the year mom got blue bikes for her birthday. That was the year of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. All the boys in our apartment building used to hang out in the parking lot, playing war or speculating about what exactly was going on in one of the kid's apartments. One day we all saw a bright ball of smoke far far away, it looked like it was up where a jet's contrails would be. The next day we found out about the Challenger.

Mom told us it couldn't be the shuttle. That the accident had happened too high, and that it wouldn't have been visible from our part of the earth anyway (remember, this was down in Rio). She was surely right, but I've never looked it up. I like to think that it was possible.

And that was the year mom got blue bikes for her birthday. May 28th or thereabouts we came back from playing outside and mom and dad said they had a surprise for us. And there they were: two brand new, bright blue Caloi bicycles for Jon and for me (of course I can't remember if Jennifer got anything...the important thing was that I got a bike). Are you kidding me? We get bikes for your birthday?!

And they were great bikes. I think they made it through a couple of moves. Our building in Rio sat on the crest of a hill, just short of the top, and I used to ride my bike around the cul-de-sac at the top, shirtless, eating apple after apple. One time I fell off heading down that hill, and scraped my chest all up. I mean, those were great bikes.

She never gave us anything for her birthday again.

Secret Friends

When we lived on the Ilha do Governador in Rio, I made a pact with this kid at school. This wasn’t the Colégio Olavo Bilac, where I got in trouble with mom for stealing Jon’s much-treasured tin lockbox and selling it to another kid at school. This was the Montessori school, where we all just kind of floated around an open room with green throw rugs and hardwood floors, drawing or pinging away on musical instruments. This was in ’86, so it was probably second grade.

Anyway, I made a pact with this kid. We had been friends for a while, but he hadn’t been hanging around with me recently. One day we were all crammed into the school van, and I asked him why. It turned out his new friend said he couldn’t hang out with him and be friends with me too. And I said that was fine, we could be secret friends. We agreed to it.

Eventually I told my mom about this. And she told me that a real friend wouldn’t be a secret friend. Friends stick together.